Knowledge of oral cancer and screening practice of B.Sc. nursing students in Davangere City, India
Simpy Mittal1, Amit Mahuli1, Mahesh Hiregoudar2, Subramaniam Ramanarayanan3, Usha Mohandas4, Prashant Goudar Manjunath5, Chandu Gowrapura Natraj5
1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dr. D.Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Sant-Tukaram Nagar, Pimpri, Pune - 18, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Coorg Institute of Dental Sciences, Virajpet, India
3 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Kothamangalam, India
4 Principal, V S Dental College and Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
5 College of Dental Sciences, Davangere, India
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dr. D.Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Pimpri, Pune - 411018
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: Oral cancer mainly affects individuals in the 6 th and 7 th decades of life with a history of risk factors like, smoking, tobacco chewing and alcohol consumption. Early recognition and referral is essential for higher cure rates and better quality of life. Nursing staff provides the oral health care for patients in hospital. Admission to hospital provides a ''window of opportunity'' for oral cancer screening via an oral health checkup during nursing care.
Objective: To measure awareness of risk factors, clinical signs and screening service for oral cancer among nursing students.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted in two Nursing Colleges of Davangere city. The questionnaire consisted of 17 closed ended questions. The questionnaire was pre-tested and validated before administering.
Results: Among 300 nursing students, 231 were females and 69 were males. Over 90% thought oral health checkups were important although only 69% performed oral examination regularly; approximately 90% identified smoking and use of tobacco products as a risk factor but very few identified other associated factors like alcohol. Only 55% of the respondents were aware about the most common site of occurrence of oral cancer. Only 49% recognized a non healing ulcer as a sign of oral cancer. Over 90% of the students felt that a nursing student needs more education about screening for oral cancer and were willing to participate in a network to promote early screening for oral cancer.
Conclusion: This study revealed that nurses' awareness of oral cancer risk factors and clinical signs, in the group under study was, however, poor. This study highlights a need for improved education of nurses on oral cancer to make the oral health checkup on admission viable for oral cancer screening.